Peter The Great / Edition 1

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Centuries after he ruled Russia from 1689 to 1725, Peter the Great remains one of the most revered and enigmatic leaders in world history. This penetrating study by noted Yale historian Paul Bushkovitch casts new light on Peter and his times, and demonstrates why it is impossible to comprehend the later course of Russian history without first grasping Peter's profound influence. Bushkovitch illustrates how Peter, during his thirty-six years as tsar, transformed his country into a modern nation—he strengthened the state, reorganized the army, established a navy, and conquered new territories. In addition to these momentous achievements, Peter changed the face of the Russian character by introducing European culture, scientific innovations, and political thought to Russia. His influence ultimately paved the way for liberalism, Western-style nationalism, and communism. In the end, neither his contemporaries nor generations of future historians can agree on how Peter should be remembered: was he a heroic reformer who brought Russia into the modern age, or a violent despot who valued the ideas of foreigners over Russian heritage?

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Editorial Reviews

In this brief and easily digestible biography, Bushkovitch captures the essence of Peter's powerful personality—his physical strength, his ceaseless curiosity, and his indomitable will. Unlike several of Peter's earlier biographers, Bushkovitch downplays his subject's image as a lone-wolf modernizer; rather, he asserts that Peter often acted in concert with many of his supposedly reluctant nobles. This well-written survey of the life of an important, dynamic, and often frightening ruler should encourage general readers to delve deeper into the subject.
Nancy Kollmann
Unlike so many books that stress Peter's foreign policy, Bushkovitch's Peter the Great focuses on domestic and cultural reforms and Peter's struggle with conservative aristocratic opposition. Concise and tightly argued, this book sets forth the myriad contexts in which Peter acted—Muscovite tradition, seventeenth-century cultural change and late Baroque Europe—and analyzes the key reforms. By focusing on power and political reform, Bushkovitch brilliantly demonstrates the logic that drove Peter's incessant drive to europeanize Russia.
Colum Leckey
It is Bushkovitch's incisive analysis of Peter the Great's relations with his aristocracy that sets this volume apart from other books on the subject. By demystifying the achievements of Russia's greatest ruler, Bushkovitch distills the complex personal politics of westernization for the general reader. It should serve as the standard introduction to Peter the Great for years to come.
Jane Burbank
A dramatic, clear, and engaging portrait of Russia's great emperor and his policies...
An original and convincing explanation of Peter's reforms of Russian government.
Alexandra S. Korros
This is an exciting book that will provide readers with a very different look at early 18th-century Russia. Bushkovitch illuminates the complexities of reform and aristocratic politics during the last years of Alexis Mikhailovich as well as during the reigns of Tsar Fyodor and the regency of Sofia Alexeevna. The scholarship is excellent and it contains new material on the role of the great aristocrats during this period. Bushkovitch's direct and clear writing style is appropriate for all audiences from the least to the most sophisticated. He has the ability to convey the most interesting information in a clear and sensible manner.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847696390
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Series: Critical Issues in World and International History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 878,916
  • Product dimensions: 0.46 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 5.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Bushkovitch is professor of history at Yale University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Russia at the End of the Seventeenth Century Chapter 2 Tradition and Westernization Chapter 3 A Quarter Century of Conflict 1676-1699 Chapter 4 The Era of Experimentation 1700-1716 Chapter 5 Crisis and Resolution 1716-1725 Chapter 6 Absolutism, Aristocracy, and Reform

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    Posted December 28, 2010

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